Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Kitchen Mayhem and Gratitude!

First, the Mayhem: Phin and I are cooking the Thanksgiving meal for his family this year. 

I realize there are a lot of ways that sentence can be read. If you're the kind that hates cooking or gets stressed by company or family events, then it must read very ominous. But if you are like me and Phin, you'll understand that I immediately did a happy dance after writing that line. We are cooking! Woo-hoo-hoo.

Turkey a la Phineas

Phin is in charge of the bird, gravy, a ham, stuffing and brussel sprouts. I'm in charge of mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, 2 veggies and pies. At this point the cranberry sauce is made (my recipe here), and my pie crusts (see my primer here) are chilling in the fridge. I'm about to head to the kitchen to start rolling out and filling pies. I plan to make apple and pecan, which I've blogged about in the past, and also pumpkin.

I'm feeling rather flattered that my SIL and niece specially requested that I make sweet potatoes. My sweet potatoes are not the traditional marshmallow covered Thanksgiving fare. In fact, I discovered this recipe in a cookbook by Mark Bittman over the summer when I was looking for a potato salad that had no mayonnaise. It was very easy and was an instant crowd pleaser. The recipe suggests serving it room temperature, but we all liked it better served warm. It calls for both white and sweet potatoes, but tomorrow I'll be using just sweet potatoes.

They are my favorite color, you know.

Grilled White-and-Sweet Potato Salad
1 lb waxy new potatoes
1 lb sweet potatoes
4 tbsp nice olive oil (extra virgin or whatever you prefer)
salt and pepper
1 tbsp grainy mustard
1 tbsp sherry or other vinegar (white wine, champagne, cider... your call)
1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, chopped

Peel and cut the potatoes into half inch thick wedges. Toss with half the olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill (in the summer) or oven roast (in winter), turning a few times while they cook, until they are browned and tender. While they are cooking, mix the rest of the ingredients together to make a vinegrette. When the potatoes are done, toss with the vinegrette and serve. Or chill in fridge and serve cool. 
Unusual for Thanksgiving, no?  But it actually goes very well with my thinking that the traditional meal can get a bit monotonous, both flavor-wise and texture-wise. So adding some veggies that have a bit of texture and a little acidity really brightens the whole meal.

And now for the Gratitude: The thing that I am most grateful for today is that I am strong and healthy.

On Sunday, I completed my longest training run for the Half Marathon - 12.6 miles! Just half a mile away from the distance I'll run in 11 days. Tomorrow, Phin and I will run in our annual 5k Turkey Trot to make room for all that pie. I'm hoping for a new personal best time in that race.

Being strong and healthy enables me to have an amazing hobby like running in my life. It helps me juggle the demands of a career that involves some travel, my marriage/best-friend-ship to Phin and family life, and still have the energy for the friendships and hobbies that enrich my life. It is a blessing: one I hope to never take for granted.

So, whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, I hope that you have much to be grateful for this year. And, if you are celebrating, I hope your turkey is juicy and your potatoes fluffy!


Mar-Mar said...

Happy Thanksgiving Clio! I hope you have a great day with family and loved ones!

Faye Lewis said...

Your meal sounds AMAZING! Have the greatest of Thanksgivings!

Karin said...

Sounds tasty! Have a great Thanksgiving.